The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, May 2nd 2020 edition. By: Blaise Doubman
Cake Mix Secrets
There are so many different tips and tricks when using a cake mix! I am sure that each and every one of you reading this column has a cake mix in your pantry somewhere. Did you know you can make cookies with a cake mix? Two different ways actually! Take any flavor cake mix and add 2 eggs, ½ cup oil or 1 stick of butter, and any type of mix-in you want, say chocolate chips, crushed up candy or just keep it simple and add nothing, and roll in tablespoon size balls and bake in 350 degree F oven for 12 minutes! Another cake mix cookie recipe is, take any flavor cake mix and add a container of frozen whipped topping, a large egg and a splash of vanilla. Roll tablespoon size amounts of dough into powdered sugar and bake in 350 degree F oven for 12 minutes. So delicious and so easy! Believe it or not, you can even make yeast rolls using a white cake mix! Yes, it is true and nobody would ever know the difference! Take an envelope of dry yeast and add it to 1 ½ cups warm water. Let it stand for a couple of minutes. Stir in the white cake mix, 3 cups white all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Stir until combined. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for an hour. Spray 24 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup about ½ full of the dough. Cover again with a kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes. Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Serve these warm and people will go crazy!
Another cake mix secret is how to take a cake mix and have it come out tasting like a cake from your local bakery. There are several secrets floating around the internet about this very thing but most of them are fake. If you use the tips you see floating around the internet, your cake will more than likely come out greasy or even flat like a pancake! The true method of getting your cake to taste like it came straight from a bakery is to add in sour cream, vanilla extract and some other add-ins that you may not have even thought about! Adding flour and sugar to a cake mix? Yes! Salt? Yes! The extra dry ingredients help with the extra added wet ingredients and salt is particularly important in baking because it wakes up every single flavor you add. My Grandma Barbra loved a yellow cake with chocolate frosting so when making this cake recipe I had to pair it with a classic chocolate frosting. If you do not have sour cream for the cake, use yogurt. If you do not have the ingredients for my chocolate frosting, there is no shame in using your favorite canned variety. Life can be hard anyways, especially in today’s times, so do not bet yourself up for using premade ingredients. Sometimes premade ingredients can be lifesavers because they save time and money and for that there should be no apologizes.
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
This cake is delicious at room temperature but even better chilled, which is a good thing because it really needs to be kept chilled in the refrigerator after the first serving. Use any type of frosting for this recipe but the classic chocolate fudge frosting is my very favorite flavor with this classic American cake of the past.
For the cake…
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup milk
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/3 cup white all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
For the frosting…
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 9-inch round pans with parchment paper and then spray generously with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.
In a large bowl whisk together well the yellow cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, milk, white granulated sugar, white all-purpose flour, lightly beaten eggs, pure vanilla extract and salt.
Pour the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans and smooth out the tops. Lightly tap the pans on the counter to release any air bubbles that may have formed.
Bake in preheated oven for 33 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder and salt in a large bowl with a whisk. Whisk away any lumps while combining the ingredients together.
In another large bowl cream together the soft unsalted butter with the heavy cream and pure vanilla extract. Add the whisked powdered sugar mixture a spoonful at a time to the creamed butter mixture, beating lightly after each addition, until all of the dry ingredients are combined.
Add a couple of more tablespoons of milk to your frosting if you want to slightly thin it out. The frosting should be the consistency of a thick melted ice cream.
Beat in the corn syrup.
When ready to frost the cake, unmold the cakes, sandwich about a fourth of the frosting between the 2 layers of cake and use the rest of the frosting on top and around the cake.
Store this cake, covered and chilled in the refrigerator. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Ask and Answer: I had a few questions about my previous column for “Lumpy Batter Pancakes” and people wanting to know what “add-ins” they could add to the batter. Any, really! Chocolate chips, blueberries, pecans, raspberries, bananas, really anything you could dream up!